A Lesson About Condemnming People

LeRoy Koopman

READ : John 8:1-11

This story about the woman about to be stoned for committing adultery raises some questions you may wish to discuss.

If this woman was “caught in the very act of committing adultery” (v. 4), why wasn’t her partner also threatened with stoning?

Some of us remember when couples who “had to get married” were brought before the elders to confess their sins, while other church members who were guilty of embezzlement or lying were exempt from public shame. Was such a practice fair? Was it wrong? Does the church now take similar sins too lightly? What sins do we despise and single out as really terrible today?

Jesus said, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (v. 7). Since not one of us is sinless, does this mean that we can never make a moral judgment? Does this mean we can never sit on a jury? Is there a difference between making judgments and being judgmental?

Why did Jesus say, “Neither do I condemn you” (v. 11a)? Jesus was not being lax. He was demonstrating God’s desire to forgive and give fallen people another chance. “Go your way,” said Jesus, “and from now on do not sin again” (v. 11b). He freed her from her past to begin again with a high purpose.


Help me, Father, to recognize the fine line between making good judgments and being judgmental. In Jesus’ name. Amen.